You can almost hear the deep bass of Don LaFontaine, the voice of thousands of American movie trailers: “From the owners of Cookbook comes Cortez.”
Marta Teegen and Robert Stelzner, the successful duo behind the popular Echo Park green grocer, have transported their love of all things organic, sustainable and locally grown to a new small plates restaurant in the same neighborhood. Cortez embraces the trend of intimate, rustic design: brick walls, communal tables and bare bulbs are arranged in a cozy 600-square-foot space (translation: get here before Cortez is on everyone’s radar as well, or long wait times may be in store).
Influenced by Mediterranean fare, the menu boasts seasonal and many meat-free dishes, like farro with charred collards and za’atar, and roasted delicata squash with pecorino and sage brown butter; bowls of mixed olives and spiced Marcona almonds serve as a healthy snack. But when meat does appear—as in the rabbit escabeche with field greens and fennel, or the merguez sausage with yogurt sauce, pickles and arugula on flatbread—it is served with love. “Our produce, meat, and seafood comes from farms, ranches, and fisheries guided by sustainable principles,” the menu reads, and really, how could you go wrong with a commitment like that?
Teegen and Stelzner were bent on finding a kitchen staff with a flair for baking, and the results of that search is especially evident at brunch. And as past success would indicate, Cortez delivers a blockbuster on that meal, too.
1356 Allison Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90026
Open seven days a week for dinner starting at 5:00pm; Monday to Friday open at 8:00am for coffee, 11:00am for lunch; weekend brunch is served from 10:00am-3:00pm
“On Our Radar” features restaurants that might meet Clean Plates standards, but haven’t been thoroughly vetted and reviewed yet.